The BBC is reportedly in talks with Disney to negotiate the streaming terms of the upcoming series of Doctor Who starring Ncuti Gatwa as the Time Lord.
If successful, it’s mooted that the show will be available to watch on the streaming platform, Disney+, globally, although it will still air on the BBC in the UK (and presumably on BBC America too).
It would be a huge deal if it goes ahead; Disney+ won’t own Doctor Who, but would have the rights to stream the series across foreign territories, just as it does other programmes like The Walking Dead.
These talks are apparently at an “early stage”, so certainly don’t take this as a given.
It makes sense: Russell T Davies has previously pondered over the franchise’s potential to reach audiences in the same way as the Marvel Cinematic Universe — which Disney also owns. Hence, alongside major movies like The Eternals, Avengers: Infinity War, and Thor: Love and Thunder, related shows have been available to stream on Disney+, i.e. WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, What If?, Hawkeye, Moon Knight, Ms Marvel, and more.
And while there’s no talk as yet of Disney+ hosting any Doctor Who spin-offs, the smart money is on Davies creating more spin-offs and so a streaming service would be a perfect place for them, at least outside the UK.
Similarly, we don’t know what this deal might cover, so fans across the world shouldn’t hold their breaths for the likes of The War Games, The Happiness Patrol, or The Eleventh Hour to be on the service. Right now, rumours indicate it’ll solely be Ncuti Gatwa’s era. But things can change quite easily in the mad world of television.
So let’s wait and see! After all, Gatwa won’t debut until at least 2023, and we’ve got Jodie Whittaker’s final episode to go of the current era.
What do you think, DWC readers? Personally, I’m a bit bored of seeing these rumours be met with negativity; as long as Doctor Who doesn’t disappear from the BBC, surely getting a wider audience is a good thing…?